WHITE HOUSE WANTS TO TRACK .GOV USERS

Dy’er Sez: Recently I wrote about the Obama administration putting out an open call for citizen informants to ‘report’ to the White House e-mails and web sites that had a contrary opinion on the Obama ‘health bill’. Not only was this a seemingly banana-republic move, but patently illegal (it is illegal for the White House to collect this info in the first place; but then their spokes-woman said they weren’t keeping the personal info they received, which means that the White House committed an illegal act in deleting the info they did collect…a real catch 22, which should simplify in any rational mind that the whole thing was illegal, unconstitutional, and plain WRONG). 

 
Now the Obama administration is considering using tracking cookies to keep tabs of exactly who is visiting the .gov websites. The claim from supporters of the move is that this will make government more accessible and transparent. How? I’m am pretty computer literate, but by no means an expert; I can’t come up with any way that tracking people with a cookie will help governmental transparency. Can you? Is anyone else’s BS-O-Meter going off as loudly as mine is on this issue?

 
Why is this collection of information and tracking of the web usage of American citizens (by cookies or informants) seemingly so important to the Obama Administration? The only supposition that comes to my mind is that the rational for such info grabbing is to facilitate the mechanism of a dictatorial state. Buy saying such, I run the risk of coming off as more than a bit jaded by the Obama administration…but does anyone have a better notion?

 Story from Raw Story:

White House proposal to track government website users stirs fears

A White House proposal to end a long-standing policy forbidding government websites from tracking users could lead to “the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website,” says the ACLU. Civil liberties groups like the ACLU and the Electronic Privacy Information Center are lining up against a plan, proposed by the Obama administration, to end a policy that has been in place since 2000 preventing government websites from installing tracking cookies on users’ computers.

“This is a sea change in government privacy policy,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, in a statement. “Without explaining this reversal of policy, the [White House Office of Management and Budget] is seeking to allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website. Until the OMB answers the multitude of questions surrounding this policy shift, we will continue to raise our strenuous objections.”

Opponents of the proposal point out that tracking cookies can be used not only to keep track of what an individual has done or seen on the website in question, but also to track what other websites that person has visited, and what personal information they have handed over to the website. Thus, it is often possible to identify a computer user based on data stored in tracking cookies.

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This entry was posted in Civil liberties/rights, Free Speech, Government, Internet, Police State, Politics, Privacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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